COPENHAGEN - KANGERLUSSUAQ
Air Greenland flies all year round from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq, four times a week during the winter, and up to ten times a week during high season
If you want to experience something that shouts authenticity in the Arctic, try out living in polar darkness.
Most people cannot imagine an existence where snow dominates the calendar for the better half of a year. They cringe at the thought of long dark winter nights. For the locals who live in places like Greenland, however, the concept of polar nights is as regular as clockwork. Plus, there’s something cosy about it. And you’ll be surprised at how quickly the light comes back.
They enjoy light from other sources. People expect polar nights to be complete darkness, but the locals often say that it’s brighter than you expect. The soft light coaxes out alluring shades of pastel pinks and blues in the dusky sky. When the sun has set (or if it never rose), the snow reflects the moonlight in the winter time, and the northern lights in the dark skies produce another form of brightness to the evening.
The light diminishes quickly heading towards the darkest evening of the year on the 21st of December. After this Winter Solstice, however, the light returns rapidly to Greenland, and becomes slightly brighter every day until the days of the midnight sun.
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The Danish word “hygge” comes to mind, but Greenlanders have made their own version of this word. Think tealight candles and hearty food like reindeer soup, playing music or games together and lots of storytelling (mainly involving ghost stories).
The home is such an important concept in the North because friends and family spend more time indoors relaxing at home. The minimal number of restaurants in towns also mean that making food plays a very important part of life, creating a natural culture of good slow food. If you’re invited to a meal, you might be treated to a feast that was caught, carried and prepared by your host. How’s that for quality of life?
So the snow is here to stay for awhile, ok? The locals don’t just accept it, they embrace it! Many locals take the time to do outdoor winter activities that are not possible during the summertime.
The traditional hunters of Greenland also enjoy the winter landscape, because suddenly new roads are opened up for travel. They often dog sled to remote locations for days on end and stay in simple huts that offer little but shelter from the natural elements. On the other hand, the hunters get the most luxurious view of the night sky: a pure view of the heavens with all of its stars, northern lights, the moon, or whatever mother nature brings.
This could be as simple as catching the light whenever it is possible, be that taking a walk during the day, or snowshoeing on frozen fjords, cross country skiing near town, or ski touring in Greenland’s vast back country.